Our Costa Rica packing list and what to pack for Costa Rica. If you are headed on a holiday to Costa Rica, packing smart is something that we love to share, so here’s the post for you what to wear in Costa Rica. Traveling to Costa Rica or any Caribbean country for that matter is always an exciting adventure. What to pack for Costa Rica ? Now the seasons in the Caribbean mostly don’t change due to its tropical climate.
Crystal clear beaches, amazing resorts, good and exotic food, parties and fun activities. Costa Rica is a country someone thinks about when they want to relax and have fun and packing for Costa Rica might be the first fun packing you’ll ever had. We know we will never avert packing for such an amazing destination. Let’s look at the essentials and must-haves, plus a few luxuries you can (or should?) what to pack for Costa Rica. Read here our best Costa Rica travel tips!
COSTA RICA PACKING LIST (WHAT TO PACK FOR COSTA RICA)
Let’s look at the weather details of our Costa Rica packing list and what to wear for Costa Rica.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE IN COSTA RICA
Costa Rica has both a tropical and subtropical climate. It has two primary seasons, the dry and wet. Dry season is in December to April, and summers in Costa Rica can be really hot, dry and cloudy. Average high temperature is 27 degrees Celsius, and average low is 18 degree Celsius.
Which part of Costa Rica has the best weather?central valley of San JoséEven with their close proximity we find varying weather patterns, part of what makes Costa Rica one of the more unique countries. The best weather in the country is said to be in the central valley of San José, there is a breeze and the temperatures generally averages about 72° Fahrenheit (22° Celsius).
Costa Rica is a long coastline, with beautiful spots and resources, and the weather, although generally tropical, can be different in different parts of the country.
The Pacific Coast
December to March is the best season to visit the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. These months will have plenty of sunshine. March is the driest and hottest month of the year. And of course, this season will the most visited season for Costa Rica and will require a lot of advanced booking, and prices will probably be much higher due to the peak season. The rainy season happens from May to October, with September and October being the wettest months of the year. If you do want to experience some of this good weather, without paying high prices, April and November are the best months which are considered transition months between these seasons.
The Pacific Coast is divided to three parts: The North Pacific Region which consists of Papagayo, Liberia, Flamingo, Tamarindo, Samara and Mal Pais. The Central Pacific Region consists of Puntarenas, Tambor and Jaco, and The South Pacific Region which includes Golfito and Corcovado.
Puntarenas, one of the most popular places to visit in Costa Rica has a really hot climate all year round, with April being the hottest. Temperatures go up to 30 degrees Celcius, but can be cooler inland, especially in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
Peninsula de Oso or Osa Peninsular also has good weather all year round, with an average temperature of 28 degrees Celcius. It does have a shorter dry season only from January to March.
Central Valley consists of Alajuela, San Jose, Heredia and Cinco Esquinas. These are Costa Rica’s five biggest cities. Western Central Valley gets a more temperate climate due to the Pacific Coast, while the Eastern gets more of the Caribbean weather.
San Jose, Capital of Costa Rica which is a part of the Western Central Valley has a very defined wet and dry climate. December to March is dry, which makes it the most favorable time for visiting San Jose. Average temperature in April, which is considered the hottest is 30 degrees Celcius. May to October will be wet, with September getting the most rain and October the coolest time.
The Caribbean Coast
Puerto Viejo and Tortuguero are included in the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. This coastline gets a lot of rainfall, with not so much of dry season. Northern Caribbean will be wetter, and has higher temperature than the Southern part. The best time to visit the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica will be September and October then February and March. For the Caribbean Coast, these are considered dry months, but still really wet compared to the normal dry season.
Puerto Limon or Limon has a tropical rainforest climate, with an average of 30 degrees Celsius of temperature whole year, and driest month being September.
CASUAL CLOTHING AND RESORT WEAR
Yes, resort wear. When you’re packing for a trip to Costa Rica, you are expecting to spend a time in beautiful resorts, and beaches. You’ll need to prepare light clothing (cotton, linen, rayon), and best with light colors. Blouses for women, Cool and Simple Tshirts and Shirts for men will be the first choices.
For pants, better go for light and cropped pants or linen pants if you’re planning to have more casual activities and coverups for times when you are not swimming, and a few pairs of shorts.
You’ll spend a lot of time swimming, or at least lounging when you’re in Costa Rica so better look good, relaxed and fun with a few pairs of bikinis (choose some 2-pieces or one pieces), and swimming trunks and shorts for men, and you’ll be good to go. Try to have some variation in style or color, if you’re planning to get some of your Instagrammable shots in the island (we know you’re planning to!).
You will get the most out of the beautiful scenery and create the photos you want to have. Make sure to bring coverups for all the times you’re not in the water. Sun is definitely hot, so you’ll need to get protected from that.
A good pair of sandals or slippers will be enough for a travel packing for a trip to Costa Rica. Now there are also other activities to do in the island, like golfing, hiking, walks and other sight seeing, so having extra pairs of going out clothes that are not exactly bikinis and coverups, but thin and comfortable enough for the hot sunny weather will sure come in handy.
Make sure not to overpack these, because Costa Rica vibes will sure force you to stay lounging most of the time! However, if you’re expecting a few sit down dinners, or maybe hitting a few clubs, or parties, you can pack extra shoes.
But make sure they are comfortable enough and know whether you’ll be walking on the sand with them, or just walking in the resort or clubs. We have our favorite foot wear that can double up as underwater wear, so these might be good to have too!
WHAT TO WEAR IN COSTA RICA: CLOTHES FOR ACTIVITIES
Now there are also other activities to do in the island, like golfing, hiking, walks and other sight seeing, so having extra pairs of going out clothes that are not exactly bikinis and coverups, but thin and comfortable enough for the hot sunny weather will sure come in handy. Make sure not to overpack these Costa Rican vibes will sure force you to stay lounging most of the time!
SKIN PROTECTION FROM HEAT AND THE SUN
In addition to proper summer outfits and clothes, packing for protecting your skin will be imperative. A sunblock with protection for UVA and UVB (for the best brands, choose a sunblock with triple +++) is very important. You’ll have to re-apply your sunblock every 20-30 minutes, especially if you’ll be staying under the sun for a long time, so make sure you pack enough for your trip.
The sun will most likely affect your hair too, so best if you pack hair products and conditioners that will be good for protecting your hair. For your makeup, make sure that you have the right sunscreen and foundation for your skin. Don’t forget your moisturizers and lotions, because skin can get dry pretty easy in this weather. If you choose to bring makeup in this trip, choose lip balms, lipsticks and chapsticks that are light colors or good for very sunny weather.
These will likely be lighter than darker. Just like your skin and body, your face will most likely need to stay hydrated, so mist sprays can be very helpful to keep your face refreshed all day long.
If you have hair dye or hair color, make sure you bring the appropriate products or consult your stylist on what products to bring to prepare your hair for the weather! Heat protectants will be very important especially if you will use a lot of blow dryers or iron in the trip, or even just for extra lounging time under the sun!
Keep your body hydrated! Instead of expecting to buy multiple water bottles for the duration of your trip, try to have a water bottle handy with you at all times so you can keep yourself hydrated and also be mindful of waste!
What to wear in Costa Rica unless you’re looking to attend high end parties where it’s important to be bringing a lot of bling and jewelry, best to keep accessories at a minimum on your Costa Rica holiday. Most of what you’ll need will be sunglasses, and hats and caps to protect your face and to add to your outfit during your stay.
A day bag will also be good to have, to bring with you on some activities on the island. In any trip, we suggest to keep your valuables – money, credit cards, passports, identification cards, and other valuables in secure containers to avoid any theft — a general rule for any travel.
BAGS, CONTAINERS, LUGGAGE
What to wear in Costa Rica talking about bags and luggage, depending on how long you’re planning to stay in Costa Rica, a small hand luggage or small suitcase should be enough. This, a day bag, packing cubes, and water proof protectors are all you’ll need.
What are packing cubes you say? One of the biggest packing hack that we swear by is dividing your luggage in packing cubes so you can go from packing to unpacking, to packing again in no time. Organization will be a breeze, and you will minimize stress when you’re trying to look for your things on a holiday.
Usually, what we do is have a bigger packing cube for clothes, and casual outer wear. A separate one for underwear and swimwear. A separate packing cube for gadgets and devices (make sure that these are actually in water proof containers), and a separate packing cube for toiletries and makeup.
Ahh, the struggles of being a woman! Now, there are definitely a lot of ways for you to prepare, but since you can expect that you’ll spend a lot of time in bikinis and short wears, have your waxing appointments ready before your trip. If you shave yourself, or you have your own shaving kits, make sure you bring these, with your creams to not have the stress later on during your trip.
You want to be swim ready at any moment! If you need some nail work done, brows, lashes, make sure you have these prepared too before your trip!
MEDICINE KITS AND OTHER EXTRAS
In addition to sunblocks, lotions, moisturizers, heat protectants, and tanning products, emergency supplies will always come in handy. Have some mosquito repellent and bug spray ready, in case the places you’ll stay at have these in the cooler evenings and your clothes make you more exposed to them. Medicines, vitamins, and essentials are always good to have in any trips too.
WHAT TO PACK FOR COSTA RICA IF YOU’RE A CONTENT CREATOR..
Water proof bags are definitely a must. You may want to bring your phones and camera gear near the water, or even in the water during this trip, so bring the appropriate water proof day bags, and water proof cases for your gear. Even if you’re not a content creator, it is now very usual to bring your phones out with you in the water, so having protective cases and covers are a must!
Don’t forget your underwater or water proof cameras if you’re planning to do a lot of shooting in the water! A snorkeling mask is always a great idea to enjoy. Bring yours from home and you will have available all the time to see the underwater life in the Costa Rica.
You should know in the Costa Rica packing list they use 110 V and frequency the American (United States and Canada) will fit. A few places make it possible to fit your European adapter in the plug because they provide adapters. If you are coming from European countries, we recommend you to bring an adapter to be able to charge everywhere.
I´m bringing my camera and phone with their respective chargers and powerbank
I´m bringing my laptop and charger and a universal adaptor
I´m bringing my passport, and Travel Insurance with Safetywing
PROTECTION FOR GADGETS AND FOR THEFT
Anti-theft bags, locks for luggage, keeping important numbers and identifications with you, and spare money are all necessities in any travel. It will always be in handy to have these ready with you when you travel, even in a holiday destination like Costa Rica.
INSURANCE AND GENERAL THINGS TO HAVE WHEN TRAVELING
Insurance is very important to have when you travel. For us, if you’re traveling a lot in places that expose you to water, in a destination like Costa Rica, having insurance for important gears is good too. Double check that you are protected the best way you can.
BASICS AND TOILETRIES
Finally, making sure you are covered with the basic needs in our Costa Rica packing list like your personal toiletries are good to have when packing for a trip. When you are staying in high end resorts you will most likely have the best toiletries available, but just prepare any special products and knick knacks that you always want to have with you. Have your perfumes, deodorizers.
For the women, since a lot of the time will be spent in water, and lighter and thinner clothing, check if the trip will come during your time of the month. You don’t want to not be ready or to be stressed of having the special products you want to have during your special week, so have your feminine products with you.
If you haven’t tried menstrual cups, you might want to try or have these with you, if you are expecting to have your period and will still want to be in your cute, scrimpy bikinis all day long!
A COMPLETE COSTA RICA PACKING LIST FOR YOUR HOLIDAY
Want to see a complete Costa Rica packing list of things what to wear in Costa Rica. Here you go:
Airport Wear (can be work for both flights to and from Costa Rica, and can double as longe wear on cooler evenings)
2 pairs of Casual Wear – Light enough that can be worn on day time activities and can double as evening for evening casuals or drinks
2-3 pairs of bikinis and bathing suits or swimming trunks and shorts (depending on how long your trip will be)
4-5 pairs of underwear
One cover up, something you can wear on top of your swim wear or bikini or a short sleeve shirt for men (light colored and light fabric)
Toiletries (ones you’ll need)
Water proof bags and packing cubes
Medicine, vitamin kit, sunscreen, lotions and other skin products
A pair of sunglasses and a hat or cap
A pair of sandals and slippers, and an extra footwear for day time activities (hiking or sport); extra special one if there are any special event or parties
Refilled Water bottle for bringing all the time!
WHERE TO STAY IN COSTA RICA
There are dormitory rooms that you can rent the bed for as low as $20 USD a night if you want the cheapest option. AirBnb are also available, mostly for about $30-45 USD a night. Double room hostels can costs up to $30-40 USD a night while mid-range hotels costs more or less $80 USD a night.
FOOD BUDGET TRAVEL IN COSTA RICA
You can find local meals in Costa Rica around $3-4 USD per person. At lunch you might want a chicken sandwich for $5 USD salad, burger and pizza with a fresh fruit drink for $7-10 USD. You can have a budget of $15-20 USD a day and it can already get you more then enough decent meals in Costa Rica.
CASH AND ATM IN COSTA RICA
The currency of Costa Rica is called Costa Rican colón and as of now, $1 USD is worth 620 CRC Costa Rican colón. Do not exchange your currency at the airport because you’ll get less than what you’ll get with the city’s exchange. Anyway if you are bringing USD you can use them while traveling around Costa Rica, so no need to exchange them.
Bank or debit cards in an ATM are the recommended way to access your funds while traveling in Costa Rica. Know real-time currency exchange here!
Hope you loved our Costa Rica packing list blog post guide! And can’t wait to hear about what to pack for Costa Rica and if we forgot anything what to bring to Costa Rica.
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